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Android to overtake Windows... if you count smartphones

market share

By Reuters and Nicole Kobie

Posted on 24 Oct 2012 at 16:06

Google's Android will be used on more computing devices than Microsoft's Windows within four years, data from research firm Gartner shows.

However, the stat assumes that smartphones and tablets are grouped together with more traditional computers.

At the end of 2016, there will be 2.3 billion computers, tablets and smartphones using Android software, compared with 2.28 billion Windows devices, Gartner data showed.

That compares to an expected 1.5 billion Windows devices by the end of this year, against 608 million using Android.

The prediction takes a similar outlook to another analyst firm, Forrester, which this week pointed out that if smartphones, tablets and computers are all lumped together Microsoft only has a third of the "personal devices" market, alongside Android and Apple's iOS.

Analyst Frank Gillett argued Microsoft can't reclaim its dominance over the area, but likely won't lose its third of the market in the next few years, as Windows 8 will help it make up for stalling PC sales.

"Microsoft has long dominated PC units, with something more than 95% sales. The incremental gains of Apple’s Mac products over the past five years haven’t really changed that reality," he notes in a blog post. "But the tremendous growth of smartphones, and then tablets, has. If you combine all the unit sales of personal devices, Microsoft’s share of units has shrunk drastically to about 30% in 2012."

Android, which reached the market only in 2008, has risen fast to be the dominant smartphone platform, controlling two-thirds of that market. It has taken the number two spot in the fast-growing tablet computer market, after Apple.

Meanwhile, worldwide shipments of personal computers fell by over 8% in the third quarter, the steepest decline since 2001, as more consumers flock to tablets and smartphones for more basic computing.

Microsoft's Windows has dominated the personal computer industry for decades, but the company has struggled to keep up with the shift to wireless, and in smartphones its market share is around 3%.

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User comments

Android OS vs. Windows OS

The Android OS is a nightmare. It is not compatible with Windows Office and that is a major draw back. Moreover it is very difficult to know how to use the Android based applications as there are virtually no manuals available. The success of Android based tablets and smartphones is based on youngsters being more interested in computer games than proper computing. I think that Windows 8 is going to address that and once people start realising that Windows 8 is a much better option than the current Android OS, the market share of Microsoft is going to increase again. And unless The Android OS is going to be much more versatile, it is going to collapse and disappear like a ship in the fog.

By gerko on 24 Oct 2012

I have both Windows and Android. I can't see either of them taking over the others functions. Nothing beats Windows in a commercial environment. Android does everything it needs to in the handheld consumer space. The simple fact is, a smartphone or tablet is a very personal device, most homes only need one or two PCs. They're complimentary devices. I would suffer very badly if I didn't have one or the other.

By Daleos on 24 Oct 2012

I stopped reading the moment I read...

... "data from research firm Gartner shows."

The title is also miss-leading and I wouldn't have even have clicked it had said, "Research shows..."

By rhythm on 24 Oct 2012

define a PC

There are plenty here in "comments" that take umbridge with Macs being classed as a PC. To include Smartphones, of any flavour, smacks to me, of a shifting of goalposts by someone with a point to prove

By nickallison on 25 Oct 2012

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